Well, there I was in Tel-Aviv, minding my own business, my only desire to exercise my unalienable right to go to the beach, have sand kicked in my face, matkot balls fly at my head, buy overpriced junk food and drinks, and have obnoxious things yelled at me by notoriously anti-religious lifeguards, who seem to think that each and everyone of us is named "Yankiv."
Then I encountered it, the wall. There was a wall blocking the pass over to the separated beach (See the notes below) from HaYarqon and Nordau Streets. I turned south, believing that I would eventually be able to cross over to the beach through Independence Park, or so I thought.
A blaring sign near the Hilton Hotel read that the park was closed for renovations. The entire park was sealed off. So, I returned northward, turned left on Havaquq HaNavi Street, and finally arrived. It was 4:30 already. I like going this late. The crowds have thinned, and the sun is a bit less intense.
I laid down to relax. I saw two business men chilling out over drinks, two men doing yoga, a man and his 20 something son enjoying each others company, and a Hassidishe man doing an effective job of relieving his young boys' fear of the water. All of the matkot games were located far away from me. I only had sand kicked in my face once, and only had to block one oncoming beach ball.
The lifeguards were not in the least bit obnoxious, and even mentioned a pasuq or two through the loudspeakers. It came from a religious guard, and was not said sarcastically.
As I prepared to leave, I encountered another "only in Israel" moment. There were not one, but two minyanim, one after the other, for tefillath minhah.
My afternoon at the beach was capped off with the typically beautiful Israeli sunset on the Mediterranean.
I had nothing over which to be agrieved, and could no longer complain about the minor, necesary detour.
Some beaches, like Tel-Aviv, divide up the days:
Men - M, W, F; Women - S, T, Th.
(Dan Buses #1, 2, 4, 9; Qavim Buses #55, 56 stop here, on one block away on Ben-Yehudah Street. Dan Bus #5 stops on Nordau and Dizengoff.)
Others, like Ashdod and Netanyah, divide up the days, and alternate mornings and afternoons:
Men - S, T, Th mornings and M, W, F afternoons
Women - S, T, Th afternoons and M, W, F mornings.
The break between morning and afternoon for Ashdod is 12:30 - 1:30pm; for Netanyah it is 1:00 - 1:30pm.
A complete schedule for the 17 separated beaches (of a total of 135 recognized beaches) can be found in Hebrew at InfoTravel.co.il. If you find a schedule in English, please leave a link to it if the comments section.
Some of the locations include Ashqelon, Haderah, Nahariyah, four on the Kinnereth, and two on the Dead Sea. Some of the beaches have an entrance fee.